The first month of the New Year has already flown by and it’s bitter cold here in Brooklyn. Even though winter is always fun (ie. skiing), I get that yearning to be on a beach in Mexico or basking in the Mediterranean sun whenever I am trudging to work through the snowy dirty streets of New York. Making and eating this Mexican Ricotta Cheesecake with a Tomato Mole Jam is possibly the next best thing to hopping on a flight to warmer weather. It has loads of spicy, complex flavors that will keep you warm and preoccupied until the sun comes out in a few months.
When i was approached by Muir Glen and The Feedfeed to develop a recipe for them using their organic canned tomatoes, I wanted to think outside the box. Wanting to stay true to my mostly dessert feed, a tomato jam immediately came to mind. Tomato jams are usually made with onions, cumin and other savory spices. They show up on cheese plates, as condiments for sandwiches, on top of eggs and in vinaigrettes. I wanted to make a more complex, sweeter jam that could do double duty as a perfect addition to a cheese plate but not feel weird on top of a dessert. Mole is a traditional sauce used in Mexican cuisines. According to Wikipedia - the source of all knowledge - a mole sauce contains a fruit, chili pepper, nut, and such spices as black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and chocolate. I could work with that. As you can see in the final recipe below, my mole jam has a lot of that - cinnamon, dried fruit, almonds and cocoa. The results? A sweet, (but not too sweet!) dynamic, interesting jam with a slightly spicy aftertaste. It tastes like a tomato jam, but it also doesn’t really taste a whole lot like what you would think tomatoes taste like. But what do I put it on?